Cops carry Kendrick Lamar and his friends in a car, people dance on a police cruiser and the rapper flies in the video for his jazzy, powerful To Pimp a Butterfly track “Alright.” Between lyrics about hating police and the tune’s hook, “We gonna be alright,” Lamar balances atop a lamppost, hovering, before it all ends surreally, like a dream, after a showdown with a policeman.
In late May, Lamar was spotted doing stunts for the video, standing atop a stoplight with wires attached to him. Rap-Up reported that the video was shot in Treasure Island, near San Francisco, and that 100 extras had been instructed to “go dumb” for a scene. Video director Colin Tilley, whose credits include clips by Justin Bieber, Chris Brown and Lil Wayne, helmed the video with team of Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment president Dave Free, the latter two being billed as the Little Homies.
Pharrell Williams produced the track and told reporters (via OkayPlayer) a month ago that he wanted to explore some new textures on the track. “One of my assistants really likes trap music,” he said. “I wanted to do something that felt like it was in that vein but that just was a little bit more colorful, and add Rhodes [piano] and instruments that are not usually used in that style of music. [I wanted to] try to bring something a bit more mystical. I kind of had my A Tribe Called Quest hat on that day. I’m a huge Q-tip fan.”
Most recently, Lamar performed the track at the BET Awards. For that performance, he rapped atop a graffitied police car, in front of a tattered American flag and fireworks. He went on to win the Best Male Hip-Hop artist trophy at the event.